West Ham finally registered their first win of the 2018/19 Premier League season with a 3-1 away victory over Everton on Sunday.
The Hammers had suffered torrid start to life under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, losing their opening four games of the league campaign, but reacted well to beat bogey team Everton at Goodison Park.
The result came as a result of Pellegrini tweaking his tactics slightly, having struggled to find a system that worked in previous fixtures.
The decision to play a three man midfield appeared to be a masterstroke as Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Declan Rice snuffed out Everton’s midfield and dominated the middle of the park throughout.
But it was Declan Rice’s performance as the holding midfielder that really caught the eye, as the 19-year-old protected the back four admirably and dictated play in possession, making a number of passes to help launch attacks.
Rice, who was hauled off at half-time in West Ham’s opening day defeat at Liverpool, was making his first Premier League appearance since and he did more than enough to ensure he’s in the starting XI when the Hammers welcome Chelsea to the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The youngster’s stats at Goodison Park show just how well he played and how important he was to West Ham’s first league win of the season.
He made 40 passes, the second most of any West Ham player on the day, with an 83% success rate, completed one dribble, made five successful tackles and performed three clearances. As performances go, Rice’s was up there as one of the most accomplished among the entire West Ham side on Sunday afternoon.
Pellegrini’s tactical decision to give Rice another go in this role after what happened at Liverpool must be praised, and it just goes to show the trust the Chilean has in his players, as well as the hard work Rice must be putting in in training, that he was happy to revert back to something that hadn’t worked previously.
West Ham’s upcoming fixtures do not read so kindly on paper but if the likes of Rice, two-goal hero Andriy Yarmolenko and front-man Marko Arnuatovic are on their game once again, then taking something from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United could be a real possibility. The Hammers will have to give it a go and, as the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it – in these next two games, though, West Ham may have to use virgin games promo code to give them a better chance of getting a positive result.
Pellegrini is a stubborn manager he also showed against Everton that he’s willing to make subtle changes to make big differences, and he did that to great effect.
With West Ham now off the mark this season and climbing out of the relegation zone in the process, Hammers fans will be able to start looking at the future with a more positive attitude.